Jennifer Rizzotti

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Jennifer Rizzotti
Jen Rizzotti at Govenor's Mansion.jpg
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Hartford
Biographical details
Born (1974-05-15) 15 May 1974 (age 40)
White Plains, New York
Playing career
1992–1996 Connecticut
Position(s) Point guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1999–present Hartford
Accomplishments and honors
NCAA National Championship as a player (1995)
America East Championship as a coach (2002, 2005, 2006, 2008)
America East Regular Season Title (2006, 2007, 2008)
America East Coach of the Year (2006, 2007)
Honda-Broderick Cup (1996)
Associated Press Player of the Year (1996)
Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award (1996)

Jennifer Rizzotti (born May 15, 1974) is a retired American collegiate and professional basketball player, and current Division I coach at the University of Hartford.

High School[edit]

Rizzotti attended New Fairfield High School in New Fairfield, Connecticut. The basketball court at the New Fairfield town park was named after Rizzotti in honor of her achievements.


From 1992 to 1996, she starred on the women's basketball team at the University of Connecticut. She was the starting point guard on the Huskies first national championship team in 1995, which recorded a perfect season, winning all 35 games. Rizzotti's picture was on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in recognition of the perfect season.[1] Jen was awarded the prestigious Honda-Broderick Cup for 1995-96, presented to the athlete "most deserving of recognition as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year".[2] She was named the 1996 Associated Press Player of the Year.[3] Rizzotti was a member of the inaugural class of inductees to the University of Connecticut women's basketball "Huskies of Honor" recognition program.[4] Rizzotti won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award during the 1995-96 basketball season.[5] This award is given to the best women's basketball player in the country under 5'6' tall. During the 1995-96 season Jennifer set school records for assists with 212 and steals with 112. Jennifer graduated with a degree in biology.

Sports Illustrated did a series of thirteen photographs featuring players and team member of teams chasing or achieving perfect seasons—an entire season without a loss. The cover photo of Jennifer Rizzoti racing upcourt is one of the photos in the collection.[6]

USA Basketball - player[edit]

Rizzotti was invited to be a member of the Jones Cup team representing the USA in 1996. She helped the team to a 9–0 record, and the gold medal in the event. Rizzotti averaged 2.6 points per games, while recording 26 assists, highest on the team.[7]

Awards and honors[edit]


She began her career as a professional basketball player playing for the New England Blizzard, of the now defunct American Basketball League. During that time she was a 2-time All-Star,[10] Rizzotti was a member of the Houston Comets after being drafted in 1999,[11] and played for the Comets in 1999 and 2000. The Comets won the League Championship both seasons.[12] In 2001 she was traded to the Detroit Shock, but a month later, she was traded to the Cleveland Rockers.[12] She played for the Cleveland Rockers from 2001-2003. Rizzotti was selected in the dispersal draft by the Detroit Shock in January 2004, but she retired from the WNBA.[12]


Rizzotti is currently in her 15th season as the head women's basketball coach at the University of Hartford, where she has led the Hawks to four America East Conference championships and four trips to the NCAA Tournament. She was named America East Coach of the Year in the 2006, 2007 and 2010 seasons.[13] In 2010 Rizzotti guided Hartford to an undefeated regular season in the America East Conference, and was one of the 10 finalists up for the Kay Yow Coach of the Year.

Rizzotti served as the head coach of the USA Basketball U18 team, at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women in June 2010 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs CO.[14][15] She previously served as an assistant coach of the U18 team, assisting head coach Doug Bruno in 2006, when the team went 4-0 to win the gold medal.[16]

In 2011, Rizzotti was named USA Basketball National Coach of the Year. She was the head coach for the USA U18 team, which won the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. She continued as head coach of the U19 team and guided the team to another gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championship games held in Chile.[17]

Hall of Fame[edit]

Rizzotti was inducted in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in June 2013. In her emotional acceptance speech she summarized, ""I'm in the Hall of Fame because I played at the right school, at the right time with the right teammates, and I was taught to be a champion by the best coach who's ever coached the game." [18] Her credentials included point guard on the 1995 National Championship team, and winner of the Wade Trophy and AP national player of the year award.[19][20]

Personal life[edit]

Rizzotti grew up in New Fairfield, Connecticut and graduated from New Fairfield High School in 1992.[21] She is the daughter of Tom Rizzotti and Carol Rizzotti.[21]

Rizzotti was inducted into the Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall Of Fame in 2001.[12][22]

Rizzotti married University of Hartford assistant, Bill Sullivan in July 1999. The two welcomed their first child on April 16, 2005. His name is Holden Thomas Sullivan. The couple's second child, Conor, was born on July 8, 2008.

Rizzotti was honored by her alma mater, the University of Connecticut, as the winner of the Red O'Neill Award, an award given annually to a former student athlete who has "gone on to distinguish themselves in their chosen career".[23]

Rizzotti was honored by The University of Hartford in 2010, as Commencement speaker. Additionally she received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University.[24]

University of Connecticut statistics[edit]

Jennifer Rizzotti Statistics[25] at University of Connecticut
1992-93 29 116 288 0.403 53 142 0.373 73 118 0.619 125 4.3 104 116 1 60 1006 358 12.3
1993-94 33 110 239 0.46 54 126 0.429 52 78 0.667 111 3.4 150 90 4 80 992 326 9.9
1994-95 35 156 308 0.506 57 138 0.413 69 94 0.734 97 2.8 161 86 2 98 905 438 12.5
1995-96 38 148 335 0.442 43 158 0.272 79 112 0.705 126 3.3 222 115 2 112 1230 418 11.0
Totals 135 530 1170 0.453 207 564 0.367 273 402 0.679 459 3.4 637 407 9 350 4133 1540 11.1

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Hartford (America East Conference) (2000–2009)
1999-2000 Hartford 14-14 9-9
2000-2001 Hartford 15-14 9-9
2001-2002 Hartford 16-15 9-7 NCAA Tournament 1st Round
2002-2003 Hartford 7-21 5-11
2003-2004 Hartford 18-12 9-9
2004-2005 Hartford 22-9 13-5 NCAA Tournament 1st Round
2005-2006 Hartford 27-4 15-1 1st NCAA Tournament 2nd Round
2006-2007 Hartford 25-9 15-1 1st WNIT Tournament 2nd Round
2007-2008 Hartford 28-6 14-2 1st NCAA Tournament 2nd Round
2008-2009 Hartford 20-12 14-2 2nd WNIT Tournament 2nd Round
2009-2010 Hartford 27-5 16-0 1st NCAA Tournament 1st Round
2010-2011 Hartford 17-16 11-5 4th NCAA Tournament 1st Round
2011-2012 Hartford 19-13 10-6 3rd WNIT Tournament 1st Round
2012-2013 Hartford 21-12 10-6 3rd WNIT Tournament 1st Round
Hartford: 276-146 159-73
Total: 276-146

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SI Covers". Sports Illustrated. pp. Cover. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  2. ^ "Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year". Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  3. ^ "University of Hartford Biography". Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  4. ^ "Women's Basketball 1995 National Championship Team to be Recognized as "Huskies of Honor"". Retrieved 2009-07-24. 
  5. ^ "Frances Pomeroy Naismith". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Retrieved 30 Jun 2014. 
  6. ^ "In Search of Perfection". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "1996 WOMEN'S R. WILLIAM JONES CUP". USA Basketball. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "PAST HONDA SPORTS AWARD WINNERS FOR BASKETBALL". THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Past Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Winners (Honda Cup)". THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Jennifer Rizzotti". Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  11. ^ "Houston Comets Draft History". Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  12. ^ a b c d Porter p 399
  13. ^ "Coach of the Year". Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  14. ^ "Draw Announced For 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship For Women". USA Basketball. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  15. ^ "College Rizzotti To Coach U.S. U-18 Team". Hartford Courant. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  16. ^ "USA Women's FIBA Americas U18 Championship All-Time Coaching Staff". USA Basketball. Retrieved 29 March 2010. 
  17. ^ "Jennifer Rizzotti Named USA Basketball Coach Of The Year". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  18. ^ Cornelius, Maria M. (June 9, 2013). "Six enter Women's Basketball HOF". ESPN. Retrieved 9 Jun 2013. 
  19. ^ "The Wade Trophy". Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Retrieved 30 Jun 2014. 
  20. ^ "They're the class of 2013". ESPN. June 7, 2013. Retrieved 9 Jun 2013. 
  21. ^ a b Porter p 398
  22. ^ "Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall Of Fame". Connecticut Women's Basketball Hall Of Fame. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  23. ^ "Hartford coach honored by UConn". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 21 April 2010. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ "UConn Media Guide" (PDF). Retrieved 15 December 2008. [dead link]


  • David L. Porter, ed. (2005). Basketball: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-30952-6. 

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